A Dermatologist Says This One Thing Should Be Cleaned Often to Avoid Viruses

published Dec 11, 2023
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It’s safe to say that the past few years have affected everyone’s awareness of communicable diseases, how germs are spread, and what can be done to prevent illnesses from spreading. It’s become second nature to wash hands frequently and for long enough, to cough into elbows (never hands!), and to actually stay home when we’re sick. 

But on a recent visit to my daughter’s dermatologist, I learned something new about the spread of a specific type of virus — and it’s affected my laundry routine at home. 

The dermatologist was telling us about the various ways people can come into contact with the virus that causes warts. She explained that any tiny cut on the skin, even a paper cut or pinprick that we’re unaware of, is an entrance for the virus. Once the virus is in the body, warts can pop up anywhere, and until the body learns to fight the virus, they will. 

One common way that the wart virus can spread, according to the dermatologist, is through hand towels. The Mayo Clinic also states that most forms of the virus that causes warts are “spread by casual skin contact or through shared objects, such as towels or washcloths.” 

I knew that towels should be washed frequently, typically every two to three days. But knowing this information about a specific virus that can spread via hand towels, and dealing with the consequences of the virus, has made me more vigilant than ever about changing hand towels often. 

In addition to throwing our hand towels in the wash more frequently, I’ve also started putting clean hand towels in the under-sink bathroom cabinets so they can be replaced easily when I go to wash one. I’m also considering implementing a guest bathroom system that my friend uses: She has a basket with folded washcloths and these are used once by each guest and tossed into a basket she keeps on the floor. It’s like using paper towels (without the waste) and prevents germs from spreading between people. 

Especially during this season of increased illness and more frequent gatherings, I want to do my part to reduce the spread of sickness (and warts!). Changing hand towels often is one powerful way to do that.